Windows 8 will not lock out Linux

HP and Dell have moved to dismiss claims by the Free Software Foundation that Windows 8 will kill off dual boot systems.

The FSF had claimed that Windows 8 requires a change in PC hardware that will make it impossible to wipe off a Windows installation and install Linux. The Free Software Foundation even launched an online petition demanding that PC makers “respect user freedom.”

However ZDNet has got on the blower to Dell and HP to ask if this anti-Linux plot is real and found out that it is complete FUD.

Dell has plans to make SecureBoot an enable/disable option in BIOS setup, which is what the FSF is demanding. It will aslo move to the UEFI version that includes Secure Boot in the Windows 8 timeframe.

HP’s PC division said that HP has no plans to participate in any conspiracy against a non-Windows OS and the maker of very expensive printer ink will continue to offer its customers a choice of operating systems.

A leading BIOS maker, AMI, has also gone on record as saying that it will advise OEMs to provide a default configuration that allows users to enable / disable secure boot, but it remains the choice of the OEM to do.

As Zdnet points out, the closer you look at the movement against the Secure Boot feature, the more apparent it becomes that this is about propaganda, not technology.

It cites the case of Jan Wildeboer, who lists his occupation as an evangelist for Linux vendor Red Hat, posting a link with the inflammatory text: “The Lock-in with “secure’ boot is reality. Read here. HP, please fix ASAP.”

The link came from another Open Source advocate, which claimed that GRUB had already been locked out of the boot sector on new computers and it links to a unidentified bloke in Oregon claimed his mate got an HP s5-1110 with Win 7 installed. UEFI has prevented the installation of GRUB on this machine.

But the HP s5-1110 is a small-form-factor consumer PC which does not include the Secure Boot feature in its firmware. What is more likely is that the “friend” could not boot a PC using DVD drive. Still never let facts get in the way of good FUD.